Veteran C-USA staffers Russell Anderson and Erika Amstadt-Hirschfield will team with rookie James Etter to provide insight and information from Orlando to the league's official website.
Murray extends UCF's lead
Posted at 2:01 p.m. ET
Latavius Murray bursted through for a 36-yard touchdown run to close out an eight play, 85-yard drive. The score gives UCF a 17-0 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter.
For Murray, it was his 10th touchdown of the season. He joins Ronnie Weaver in producing double-digit touchdowns this season. UCF and Wisconsin are the only FBS teams with two players with 10 or more rushing TD's.
UCF up 10-0 at the half
Posted at 1:23 p.m. ET
UCF leads 7-0 at halftime in the most defense-dominated game in C-USA Championship history.
The combined total of ten first half points easily made it the lowest scoring first half in C-USA Championship history. The previous low was 30 in 2006 (Southern Miss 17, Houston 13).
It marks the fourth time this season that UCF has shut out its opponent in the first half.
Jeff Godfrey is 11-of-15 for 126 yards and a touchdown for UCF, while SMU's Darius Johnson has six catches for 70 yards for the Mustangs.
UCF leads 7-0 after first quarter
Posted at 12:38 p.m. ET
UCF leads 7-0 after the first quarter. The Knights ran 23 plays for 100 yards, while SMU had five plays for 41 yards. UCF had the ball for 13:21, while SMU possessed it for 1:39
SMU's Taylor Reed was impressive in the opening 15 minutes, registering six tackles and his first sack of the season.
Knights strike first
Posted at 12:22 p.m. ET
UCF strikes first, capping a 13-play drive with a 3-yard TD toss from Jeff Godfrey to Latavius Murray. It was Murray's first career TD reception. The drive took 7:28 off the clock.
UCF has scored first in 12 of its 13 games this season.
SMU will get its first possession trailing, 7-0.
Posted at 12:02 p.m. ET
UCF won the coin toss and elected to receive. The Knioghts will start on offense as the 2010 Conference USA Football Championship gets underway.
It is an absolutely beautiful day for football. Temperatures in the 60's under bright blue skies.
Will UCF takes its second C-USA Championship in four years or will SMU win in its first appearance? Stay tuned to find out.
Happy Championship Day
Posted at 8:26 a.m. ET
Good morning from Orlando! It's a beautiful morning in Central Florida, a little cool by Orlando standards, but sunny and pretty. Gametime temperature is expected to be in the mid-60's under sunsplashed skies.
Throughout the day we'll have updates on this blog, along with Facebook and Twitter, so follow us in your favorite method as we preapre to crown the 2010 Champion.
Last Friday Post
Posted at 6:31 p.m. ET
Friday activities are drawing to a close at Bright House Networks Stadium. A couple of conference gatherings will take place this evening and then everyone will be back in the morning on championship Saturday.
Be sure and check back throughout the day for notes and updates as the Mustangs and Knights battle for the C-USA title.
Behind the Scenes at Bright House Networks Stadium
Posted at 4:37 p.m. CT
With less than 24 hours until kickoff of the 2010 C-USA Football Championship Game presented by HotelPlanner.com, the stadium is dressed and ready to go.
C-USA had added a few of its own touches to the Knights' home stadium to give it the C-USA Championship look. Custom field wall wrap has been installed, transforming the gold and black walls into a sea of Conference USA blue, with all 12 teams represented. The UCF stadium crew has been hard at work putting the final touches on the field paint, including stylized team end zones and the conference and sponsor logos at midfield.
The UCF video dept. has put together a season highlight video featuring all 12 teams that will be featured on the league's website and be part of the game introductions tomorrow.
The television crew from ESPN2 has been setting up for their production, strategically adding a camera position outside the stadium to provide viewers with a view of the game unaffected by the raucous home crowd. The ESPN2 announcers sat down with UCF head coach George O'Leary to talk about the upcoming game with SMU and coach O'Leary also spoke to the C-USA multimedia team, excerpts of which are currently featured on the C-USA Digital Network. The day will end with an administrative meeting for conference staff and the participating teams to go over last minute procedure and details.
Topping off the pre-game activities this evening is a reception with staff from both participating teams, program supporters, sponsors, alumni and friends.
It's hard to believe that just a week ago, the teams were determined and the SMU at UCF matchup was announced. The week leading up to the event is a frenzy of planning and projects, and then for a few short hours between setup completion and kickoff, it's nice to savor the anticipation of the championship game.
Children's Hospital Visit
Posted at 2:37 p.m. CT
Conference USA student-athletes visited Florida Hospital for Children Friday while in Orlando for the 2010 C-USA Football Championship. As part of C-USA's efforts to become the best Division I-A collegiate conference in athletics, academics and in the community, members of UCF athletics were able to view the facilities and interact with the children.
Several members of the UCF cheerleading squad and dance team joined other members of the Knights' athletics as the group toured the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children. The student-athletes had the opportunity to visit with the dedicated staff and interact with several patients. Providing t-shirts for the children, the UCF dancers and cheerleaders had an opportunity to create holiday decorations and spend time with the patients.
"It's such a special opportunity to be able to go and spend time with these children," said junior Natalie Diaz, a member of the UCF dance team. "It's important for us to interact with the patients since they are unable to come out and spend time with us."
One of the premier children's hospitals in the nation, the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, offers children expert, comprehensive care. Everything is centered on trust, respect and open communication with children and their parents. The family-oriented atmosphere not only promotes healing but also creates an environment that is compassionate and highly effective. A leader in neonatal and pediatric intensive care, Florida Hospital for Children has a team of doctors, nurses and support staff ready to spring into action to provide critical care to infants and children. The state-of-the-art Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) are some of the very best in the nation, backed by the legendary service and commitment to children's health and healing.
Posted at 1:48 p.m. ET
Just got back to the press box after sitting in on George O'Leary's interview with ESPN. The coach talked about all aspects of tomorrow's matchup with producer Bryan Ryder, play-by-play man Bob Wischusen and analyst Brian Griese. Remember, the game airs on ESPN 2 at Noon EST.
O'Leary talked about the importance of having the championship game at home and the continued development of the UCF program. He spoke about the number of key performers on the UCF offense, including the continued development of freshman QB Jeff Godfrey. O'Leary noted the "improved poise in the pocket" that Godfrey has shown and that he shows "great fieldmanship for a young kid."
After the ESPN interviews were finished, Erika and I stuck around for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Coach O'Leary. Check ConferenceUSA.com later today for footage of that interview.
Tickets Still Available for C-USA Championship Game
Posted at 11:44 a.m. ET
Tickets are still on sale for the 2010 C-USA Football Championship Game presented by HotelPlanner.com. Fans can get more information by visiting www.UCFathletics.com or http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/2200456A90CD3BC2?brand=ucf
Good morning from Orlando
Posted at 10:12 a.m. ET
Happy Friday morning from Bright House Networks Stadium, where the Conference USA staff and UCF Athletic Department continue preparations for the big game tomorrow.
Fans attending the game tomorrow will notice some cosmetic changes around the stadium. The field features several new markings, including a pair of red and blue C-USA logos and a pair of HotelPlanner.com logos between the 20 and 30 yard lines. The C-USA Championship logo is prominently displayed at the center of the field, spanning from 37 to 37 yard line. The north end zone now features the word Mustangs in front of where the SMU fans will be seated.
Conference USA banners and signage is prominently displayed both inside and outside of the stadium. The signage features the C-USA logo and logos of all 12 schools on blue backgrounds. C-USA Championship signage can also be seen around parts of campus, reminding UCF's large student body that they need to be a part of Saturday's big game.
What results is a mix of the look that the home fans are used to seeing at Knights home games as well as the look that is commonly used at conference championship games.